Budget Expectations: When the interim Union Budget 2024-25 is presented tomorrow, February 1, 2024, expectations will be high from all sections of the society. However, as this is an interim budget, FM Nirmala Sitharaman is unlikely to make many major announcements. The interim budget, just ahead of parliamentary elections, holds immense importance for the Centre’s political ambitions. Individuals from different walks of life voiced their expectations and hopes with a bit of pessimism to Outlook Money.
They expect the focus to be on healthcare, and education while also looking for some tax relief measures. Small business owners are waiting for supportive policies like PLI to be widened.
Pardeep Tiwari, 21, Cigarette Shop Owner at Delhi’s Safdarjung Enclave says, “I hope the Union government takes measures to ease the burden on small businesses. What we need is tax relief but as usual, I expect the government will hike taxes on cigarettes making them more expensive.” In last year’s budget, the government had imposed 16 per cent duty on cigarettes making them costlier by 1 to 3 per cent.
Kirti Ram Thapliyal, 48, a Restaurant Employee from South Delhi said, "I don’t think there is any room for a price deduction on LPG cylinder. Whatever price was possible had already been done by the government. Now, there won’t be any hike till the next elections. Given the setbacks caused by the pandemic, I hope the budget addresses the concerns of the middle class. Some relief for the hospitality industry's revival would be great."
Aldrin Jimmy, 30, an entrepreneur in Delhi highlighted the importance of support required for startups and increasing the standard deduction limit. "As an entrepreneur, I'd love to see more incentives and funding opportunities for startups and the inclusion of more industries in the PLI scheme. I think that the standard deduction, currently at Rs 50,000, needs a significant increase to Rs 1 lakh in both tax regimes to match the current inflation."
Vinod Pandey, 48, who runs a stationary store said, "It is no longer a time when people depend solely on the budget, thinking that if some hike is made in one item, nothing will change until next year," said “The Centre or State government now increases taxes or duties every three to four months. So after the COVID-19 pandemic, the budget doesn't matter much. Quality education and healthcare should be focused.”
"The current Rs 1.5-lakh deduction under Section 80C motivates people to choose the old income tax regime. Government can consider raising this to encompass all eligible investments like life insurance premiums and the Public Provident Fund (PPF)," he said.